How to Find the Right HVAC Training Course near Downey California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Downey CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Downey CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Downey CA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Downey CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Downey CA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Downey CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Downey and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Downey CA
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Downey CA area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Downey CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Downey CA HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Downey CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Downey CA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Downey CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Downey CA, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Downey CA?
Downey is a city located in southeast Los Angeles County, California, United States, 13 mi (21 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It is considered part of the Gateway Cities. The city is the birthplace of the Apollo space program, and is the hometown of Richard and Karen Carpenter. It is also the home of the oldest still operational McDonald's restaurant in the world. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 111,779.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in Alta California, the area that is now Downey was inhabited by the Tongva ethnic group, which came to be called the Gabrielino by the Spanish. The nearest Tongva settlements appear to have been just north and northeast of present-day Downey, although there is difficulty in locating them precisely. The villages of Naxaaw’nga and Sehat seem to have been situated near the present-day community of Los Nietos, or perhaps farther west on sites that were lost to floods of the San Gabriel River. Chokiishnga and Huutnga are other Tongva place names that may have referred to villages in the general area north of Downey between the San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo. In all four cases, it is difficult to relate the original location descriptions, based on ranchos and land grants, to more specific sites identifiable by today's landmarks.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was initially founded on September 8, 1771, near these concentrations of Tongva population, at a site in the Whittier Narrows on a bluff overlooking the Rio Hondo near the intersection of today's San Gabriel Blvd and Lincoln Avenue. After five years, flooding forced the relocation of the mission to its present site in San Gabriel.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near Downey CA
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this post, you need to select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Downey CA.
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